How vulnerable is your network with cloud computing?

Cloud computing has been transformative for businesses. It has not only improved and increased storage opportunities but has also made it possible to access more efficient, cost effective and diverse business support through Software as a Service (SaaS) applications available by subscription. With cloud computing has come a reduction in the control that organisations have over their own networks. Many have now transitioned from on site servers and networks to virtual resources. So, what does that mean for your network when it comes to vulnerability?

Where do the risks exist?

What is often perceived as the major risk is the fact that data, applications and infrastructure are delivered over the internet. The risk arises in the transmission between the cloud server and the client network and it’s often here that cyber criminals will try to exploit any potential vulnerabilities. Session hijacking is one of the more common hacker tricks, which involves hijacking the cookie that the client is using for a valid computer session and using it to access data or intercept traffic.

How substantial are the risks?

The scale of the risks involved often depends on the individual circumstances of the business and the third party service provider. If both have implemented high levels of comprehensive security then risks should be low – that’s why it’s always worth working with a high quality, reliable services provider to avoid taking any unnecessary risks. What many businesses often forget is that service providers frequently have higher levels of security that is much more advanced than an individual enterprise could implement on its own premises. Getting access to this can be a mitigating factor when it comes to networks and cloud computing vulnerability.

Where can security be improved?

There are a whole range of different options to improve network security where cloud computing is concerned. These are some of the most commonly used:

  • cloudVPN. This is a Virtual Private Network, which helps to improve access security – communications are securely encrypted by the VPN so that the applications on the cloud server can be safely accessed.
  • Segmentation and monitoring. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides the basis for cloud architecture and keeping it safe requires a combination of segmentation and monitoring. This usually means ensuring there are intrusion detection and prevention systems in place, and virtual web application and network based firewalls to protect against malware.
  • IP restrictions and logging. This is the most pertinent to Platform as a Service (PaaS) where the service company has provided the architecture and systems and the client adds applications. Optimum security here includes IP restrictions and logging as well as measures such as API Gateways.
  • SaaS security obligations in the contract. SaaS security is usually delivered by the cloud service provider and it’s worth going through what is laid out in the contract so that you’re sure about how and where this is going to be delivered.

Your network is not automatically vulnerable if you’re using cloud computing. There are plenty of measures available to help increase the security of your architecture and services and working with the right service provider can also help to minimise the opportunities for any issues to arise.

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